By Nikhil Pahwa and Aroon Deep On Monday morning, newspapers across the country were splashed with front page ads for the "Paytm Mini App Store", inviting developers to join the company "to build India's Digital Revolution, together!" The problem: it's not really an app store — the Mini App Store is a collection of services that open in a browser inside Paytm's own app. App stores, by definition, are distribution mechanisms for independent software called apps, and allow users to install apps locally on a device, rather than go through another app to open them. Also, this isn't even new: it seems to be just a rebranding of Paytm Mini Programs, which was launched in July. How Paytm "Mini App Store" works Paytm's "mini app store" is an idea that other Indian apps have already tried; JustDial advertised a bundle of apps inside its own app as a way to reduce app clutter, and PhonePe, a Paytm competitor, has a similar service called PhonePe Switch, which works nearly identically, right down to pre-filling user information that the company already has. Indeed, Paytm just seems to be loading the mobile browser version of the apps it launched with, like 1mg, Domino's Pizza, and Decathlon. Here's a comparison of the Mini App Store and PhonePe Switch (note that we couldn't show much of Paytm's interface due to restrictions on screenshots and screen recording on the app): [caption id="attachment_222568" align="aligncenter" width="1104"] An "app" on the Paytm Mini App Store (left), and on PhonePe…
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